MidAmerica Nazarene, Columbia, Westminster advance in NAIA tourney
Kansas City Star
March 20, 2009
By MIKE JEFFRIES
The black and swollen tissue under Danny Hawkins’ right eye said a lot about what it’s like to play under the basket in college basketball.
But Hawkins’ play Friday night says even more about how good he is at it.
When his team needed him most, Hawkins came up with tough layups, big free throws and bigger rebounds, leading MidAmerica to a 64-63 heart-pounding, second-round win over Oklahoma Baptist.
“We feel like Danny is as good in the post as anybody in the country,” MidAmerica coach Rocky Lamar said about his two-time All-American forward. “I think he’s proving it here.”
Hawkins led all players with 31 points and 11 rebounds. His basket with 5 minutes remaining gave MidAmerica its first lead of the second half.
“I’d rather have a game where we just lead the whole time,” Hawkins said. “But this just shows that we don’t quit.”
Hawkins teammate, Austin Boots, chipped in a big shot of his own with 7 seconds left in the game. After missing on six-consecutive three-point attempts, Boots drained a three-pointer that provided the winning margin.
Columbia 84 Union 64
Call them the bracket busters.
Columbia College’s second upset win in two days — this time a pounding of No. 3-seed Union (Tenn.) — solidly pushed the Cougars into today’s quarterfinals.
The two wins that Columbia has collected mark the most the school has ever had in the NAIA tournament. Columbia beat Lee, the No. 14 seed, on Thursday night.
“That’s what we wanted to do,” said Columbia senior guard Brett Hoskins. “We wanted to try to set a new record.”
The record-setting night began with a 12-0 Columbia run that gave the Cougars a lead they never surrendered.
Jason Ellis led Columbia with 23 points. Union’s Greg Truvillion led all scorers with 24.
Columbia will play No. 6 seed Westminster at 6 tonight.
Westminster 67 Cumberlands 62
Westminster College’s 6-foot-7 forward Geoff Payne dominated the paint, leading his team in points and rebounds in its win over University of the Cumberlands.
Payne scored 24 points and pulled down nine rebounds and helped the Griffins overcome a 53-53 stalemate that lasted nearly 3 minutes near the end of the game.
“Cumberland is an outstanding team,” Westminster coach Tommy Connor said. “We knew coming in that we would have to play good defense and block out, and we did that.”
“We’re really excited about this. To get to play another day in this tournament is great.”